Inquiry begins into store plan

A bird's eye view of how Sainsbury's revamped Archer Road store will look.
A bird's eye view of how Sainsbury's revamped Archer Road store will look.
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SUPERMARKET giant Sainsbury’s has launched an appeal against a council decision to reject plans for the expansion of one of its Sheffield stores.

Sainsbury’s lawyers told a three-day public inquiry at the Town Hall that Sheffield Council could not justify the refusal of planning permission for a two-storey extension to their Archer Road store.

The planning refusal, made last August after nearly 1,000 people objected to the scheme, could be overturned by government inspector Ian Jenkins after he has heard submissions from the company, the council and residents.

Sainsbury’s barrister Timothy Corner QC said the planning committee councillors refused the application against the advice of their own officers.

“The council officers were right to recommend the application be approved and nothing has changed since then,” he told the hearing. This development will bring substantial improvements and the appeal should therefore be allowed.”

Mr Corner said expanding the shop floor by 40 per cent, moving the entrance and rebuilding the car park would bring in jobs and enhance the appearance of the area.

He said the impact on the roads and air quality – the council’s justification for the refusal – would be ‘imperceptible’ and green measures in the plans would actually decrease pollution levels.

But council planning officer Chris Heeley said the increase in customers would hit congested junctions where Abbeydale Road meets Archer Road, Springfield Road and Bannerdale Road.

He said: “These junctions are congestion hot spots and result in significant queuing.

“There’s a history of accidents and I consider additional vehicles will increase this risk.

“The predicted increase in traffic of 109 and 142 vehicles per hour, at weekday and Saturday peaks respectively, is significant.”

Mr Heeley said air quality in the Abbeydale corridor already breaches EU limit for nitrogen dioxide, which would be worsened if the store were expanded.

The hearing continues.